And now a word about Bad Machinery.
I loved John Allison‘s hilarious Scary-Go-Round, which tracked the lives of several 20-somethings, teenagers and occasional monsters in the supernaturally-charged town of Tackleford, England. (I felt bereft on reading the last page in the same way that I do when a beloved TV series winds up, or a good friend moves to North Vancouver.) The characters were often blithely aloof to the world around them, but as with Seinfeld, that somehow made them all the more human – especially on those occasions when their awareness allowed a little compassion to creep in. The fact that the more-or-less-lead character dies two or three times over the course of the comic is just gravy.
His follow-up comic is Bad Machinery, and the characters include many of the younger siblings of SGR regulars and their friends. Now centered in the children’s school, Bad Machinery nonetheless has a more mature and humane sensibility to it. The occasional appearance from an SGR cast member – including one who has, for reasons not explained in the comic, returned from Hell – is an added treat, but you can start reading with zero knowledge of SGR and still enjoy it all immensely.
But by all means, check out SGR, too. It’s a ton of fun, and it’s also a chance to see an artist’s storytelling ability grow along with his technical skills.